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WeCanAccess Youth – Dosti

calendarNovember 2 2021

As part of our WeCanAccess Youth project, where young people tell us how to improve accessibility and inclusion, we are very proud to showcase work received from the students with special educational needs and disabilities from DOSTI, a Study Hall School in Uttar Pradesh in India.

Below, the staff of Dosti and the pupils with additional needs tell us what we can do to make sure they are they are properly included in every day life.

VISION OF TRUE INCLUSION BY OUR SPECIAL STARS

Hand drawn image shows two joyful people playing instruments. One standing, playing saxophone and the other sitting in a wheelchair playing a violin. The caption reads 'if music be the food of love then play along with us!!
If music be the food of love, play along with us!!
Image shows a smiling young man holding his artwork up for show. The young man appears to have downs syndrome.

“ IF EVERY CHILD MATTERS EVERY CHILD HAS THE RIGHT TO A GOOD START IN LIFE.IF EVERY MATTERS, EVERY CHILD HAS A RIGHT TO BE INCLUDED. AND THAT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS” Cherie Blair

So appropriate and well said quote.

With this approach when our children of DOSTI ( a part of SHEF ) were asked to tell about their expectations and views as to how and in which way they would like to be included with their main stream peer and what they actually need or want from them, so here are their views, pictures and couplets as told, depicted and presented by them to their teachers.

The only special need I have is to be loved and accepted just the way I am, so be my friend in real sense by involving me equally in every activity and I will try my best to be at par and will not let down. Student Y

I must not be left alone nor be looked down just because I am differently abled and want to be treated with same dignity like you so be my buddy, my support system and not a sympathizer rest, I can manage when I know I have you beside me. Student A

Special children like S* do not expect much from mainstream children. All they want is acceptance as they are. They do not want special attention or overattention. They want them to be friends, to play games with them and enjoy with them.

However they do not like sudden overwhelming situations, loud noises or too much physical interaction or touch. In unexpected scenarios they can be immediately pre-informed to prepare them (like now we are going to auditorium so children might be loud and you may not like it a bit but it’s safe). In case they still have meltdown or outbursts then the mainstream children should be aware of isolationg them with one responsible adult and not cause any more chaos or judging statements which might further overwhelm them. 

Special children want happy atmosphere, pleasant faces,   less noisy surroundings and understanding peers who don’t ridicule them, judge them or intimidate them. After all they are different but they do feel, love, admire, understand and sense things a little more than all of us. By Student S*

A character in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy is laughing and chatting with a friend standing next to them.
  • I am keeping a positive view for all.
  • I can do all the work equal to normal children.
  • I am trying to do all the general work.
  • As I am a special child but I am trying to do every work.
  • I did not like others to keep sympathy with me. Student A

My friends should value me for what I am, not focusing on my weaknesses. They should allow me to participate in their talks, listen to me and communicate with me politely and enjoy my company. They should have love for me as a classmate. Student V

A young man with his eyes closed is holding up his drawing of 3 characters playing.

I can’t arrange my feelings properly in words still i love my mainstream friends to talk to me. I don’t like instructables too much but I like to explore new places. I like to go long drive, camping in the mountains, i want to sing my favourite songs, play mobile games and i want to have food contests with my mainstream buddies. I make a lot of little mistakes. I get nervous and scared very quickly still I want my friends to believe in me, especially I don’t want him to make fun of me. I easily get hurt by this. I want to be happy with them. Please watch my video here: https://youtu.be/8c3SNqCjZs8
By Student A

A colourful hand drawn picture shows 3 smiling children playing with a skipping rope. A boy is jumping, and two girls are holding the rope, one of the girls is in a wheelchair. The caption reads 'I feel so good when mainstream children participate in play with us'.
I feel so good when mainstream children participate in play with us.

I like to play with everyone, whether elder or younger ones. Games which seem difficult to me or I am not able to play then, I expect someone who can calmly explain me in detail how to play that particular game. I like when everyone clarifies all my doubts and explain me everything how to do instead of helping me instantly in doing that particular work. And, I expect from everyone to love me the way I am, bring gifts for me and I hate when someone scolds / beats me or doesn’t do as I say. Please watch my video here: https://youtu.be/tF1gWJK1JVg by Student D

A hand drawn picture of 4 children all smiling and shouting. The text above them reads "A child is like a butterfly in the wind. Some can fly higher than others, but each one flies the best it can. Why compare one against the other? Each one is different, each one is special, Each one is beautiful."
A child is like a butterfly in the wind, Some can fly higher than others, but each one flies the best it can. Why compare each one agains the other? Each one is different, Each one is special, Each one is beautiful.
Image shows 5 characters one with glasses, one with a crutch, one running, one in a wheelchair and one just smiling. The Caption above says "Play, learn, grow Together"
Play, learn and grow together!

To see more of the students’ work from SHEF click here: WeCanAccess Youth India part 2

WeCanAccess Youth

WeCanAccess Youth aims to improve accessibility and inclusion in schools by helping students to have a better understanding of the challenges that their differently abled peers may face. It asks pupils to come up with ideas on how they might support and include their friends at the same time as asking pupils with disabilities to explain what actions would help them. You can find out more about the activity here: www.wecanaccess.com/wecanaccess-youth

If you or your school would like to submit work for the WeCanAccess Youth Project, or if you have any questions about the activities, please contact admin@wecanaccess.com.

Learn more about improving accessibility and inclusion in the classroom. Visit the WeCanAccess Academy for practical and effective toolkits here: WeCanAccess Academy

ABOUT SHEF

Study Hall Educational Foundation (SHEF), an inclusive non-profit organization, runs a network of six unique schools and four outreach programs, educating diverse populations of children and young adults; every school caters to a different segment of society. Over the last three decades, SHEF has trained over 100,000 teachers and impacted over 5 million children (predominantly girls from disadvantaged communities) through SHEF’s various schools and programs.

You can find out more about SHEF here: studyhallfoundation.org/index.php

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